In September, The New York Times lamented the slow death of the house party, while just recently The Cut begged humanity to do their civic duty and throw a party. Challenge accepted! A good old fashioned house party is more fun now then when your parents were out of town. Here we provide a counterpoint to every excuse you have. Start working on a witty email invite—you’ve got a party to plan.
My space is too small.
Don’t let the fact you aren’t living in a sprawling loft hold you back. The key to “intimate” entertaining is maximizing every inch you have. Put the spread of snacks on the coffee table (or on a cutting board on the oven). You don’t have to have a fully stocked bar cart (though if you want to stock one here’s how). If you’re short on space (and liquor) present the available booze on the bookcase. A cozy atmosphere only amps up the fun factor.
Guest List Drama.
Going inline with the above, it can feel like a lot of pressure to decide who will actually make the cut. Our best advice: plan for the flake. Over invite if you can, or plan to invite a few extras closer to the date if you find that your original invitees can’t make it. Alternatively, limit your list and throw a smaller shindig with a selected group—people will be less miffed if they know it was a teeny affair. Worst case scenario, your Instagram makes someone envious, like that’s something new?
"The best way to have a party is just to have a party."
Expense Report Excuse.
Yes, you can feel the crunch to provide a lot for your guests—copious amounts of top-tier liquors and only the finest artisanal snacks. Instead of getting overwhelmed with culinary aspirations, focus on just one or two things you can prep earlier in the day or even the day before. All you really need to offer is a few easy appetizers (like our favorite green dip or this colorful bruschetta) or a meat and cheese spread (we love this twist on a cheese plate), and something to drink. People aren’t expecting a full tilt buffet, so if you zero in on making a few things nice, it’s more appreciated. A tip we love? Buy a vintage cocktail book, set out your arsenal of booze and let guests make their own concoctions. Self-serve is a great way to manage top-shelf taste.
Time Travel Troubles.
Are you troubled people won’t trek to your house? The Times presented the sprawl of modern living as a reason many folks opt to text you that they "can't even" as they settle in to Netflix and chill instead. Combat people’s laziness by offering an earlier start time, like 6 or 7pm, so they can still be in bed watching Master of None (slightly tipsily) by 10 PM if they so choose.
Worried about where to put everyone’s jacket, coats, and shoes? Don’t. There’s no need for a coat closet, just designate your bed and roll with it. If you do feel like you need more space than that, consider a DIY coat rack or an inexpensive pop-up version for your hallway. If you normally run a shoe-free household, consider suspending the rule for the night. The hassle (and mess) of a pile of shoes is worse than doing a light clean up post-party.
The Pressure Cooker.
The best way to have a party is just to have a party. If it doesn’t work, you’ll learn your lessons for next time, or you never have to do it again. The beauty of a house party is it’s your house, your rules. Cook, decorate, drink, invite who you want. The night is your oyster, whether you chose to serve them or not.
So, we don't think the house party is dead. Maybe we've graduated from Animal House to a slightly more sophisticated scene, but the desire is still alive and well. As John Belushi famously exclaimed, "What? Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is!" That's the spirit. Party on.